You and Your Library in One Word

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Balance. Simplify. Volunteer. Energy. Gratitude. Grace. Adapt.

MorrisHave you been following the #OneWord2017 hashtag? I love this trend—people on Twitter, even teachers and their students, are proclaiming in just one word their goals, ideals, and hopes for the new year. The idea is simple, yet it isn’t—like that famous saying about wanting to write a shorter letter but not having the time or those January home magazines suggesting how easy it is to organize household mail if you only touch each piece once.

It’s harder than it might seem to be efficient when completing certain tasks or collecting certain thoughts. And distilling a year’s worth of ambition into a single word is no different. But I like the spirit of this exercise in nudging what might be a jumble of ideas toward a more focused lens. Too often with resolutions and to-do lists, we get excited and ambitious, and well-meaning plans end up diluted. Choosing one stream feels practical and attainable.

I like the one-word resolutions that could apply to many aspects of living and working—like “adapt.” Vow to adapt to the unexpected snowfall, request, or detour. Adapt when a website goes down, a student question brings surprise, or a new resource falls in your lap right before teaching.

What are some one-word possibilities that you might weave into your days in the school library to steer a more positive outlook, address a need, or recharge your batteries? I thought of a few: Welcome. Listen. Wonder. Stretch. Guide. Experiment. Grow.

And then there are the ever-present—and one-word—goals of our profession:

  • Collaborate
  • Lead
  • Access
  • Inquire
  • Teach
  • Learn
  • Share
  • Assess

Even these more specific concepts could span many dimensions of the work librarians do. “Assess,” for example, might represent a goal to implement more forms of student assessment, maybe using different strategies or evidences. This could also describe a desire to self-assess more often, perhaps through periodic written reflections or checklists. Or this could be a good time to be more methodical with formal professional assessment, introducing your principal to school librarian assessment tools or suggesting ways to supplement a district evaluation with additional means of tracking what you do.

Will you share your #OneWord2017 ideas with us? Tweet us @SLC_Online. We’d love to see what you’re thinking about in your library lives for this year. Happy New Year!


morrisRebecca J. Morris, MLIS, PhD, earned her master’s degree and doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh and her undergraduate degree in elementary education at Pennsylvania State University. Rebecca teaches graduate courses in school librarianship and youth library services. Rebecca has published articles in journals including Knowledge Quest, School Libraries Worldwide, and Teacher Librarian. She is the author of School Libraries and Student Learning: A Guide for School Leaders (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2015). Rebecca is a former elementary classroom teacher and middle school librarian.
Email: rmorris@schoollibraryconnection.com
Twitter: @rebeccajm87.

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4 thoughts on “You and Your Library in One Word”

  1. My word is “joy.” I want to find it in everything I do, and inspire it in the students and people I am privileged to work with.

  2. My word is “synergy” meaning the power of two or more is greater than the power of one! My Library is a synergy center!

  3. My word this year is purpose. Too often we get bogged down in all the things we have to do. I want to be sure everything I do and my library is involved in has purpose and intention.

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